Friday through Saturday, March 5-13—Wrapping up Winter in Arizona

While we’re awaiting our final Covid injection, Kay continues playing golf and pickleball, while I look for something to do, non-invasive to the left knee. It’s getting better, but ever so gradually. It is windy here in Casa Grande, and has been so all winter! Given our situation with social distancing and sports injuries, we’re both ready to return to Hot Springs Village, though dreading the wet spring weather and soggy golf courses there.

We did venture out on Sunday, making a loop south of Tucson to Madera Canyon, Lake Patagonia, and the Paton Hummingbird Center in the small village of Patagonia. Our first stop was at the Santa Rita Lodge where they maintain lots of various types of feeders. Surprisingly, there were only a couple of hummingbirds nectaring at the feeders, but no other birds—somewhat disquieting. And then, after several minutes this Cooper’s Hawk flew in—explaining the silence.

Cooper’s hawk at Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon

With no prey in sight, it flew away, and immediately a myriad of birds returned to feed.

Cooper’s hawk flying away empty “handed”

Even a butterfly (Mourning Cloak) appeared.

Mourning Cloak

And, I finally got a good look at some Broad-billed Hummingbirds, a quest all winter.

From Santa Rita Lodge, we drove to the Whitehouse Picnic Area, parked, and hiked an almost two-mile loop along Madera Creek to the Proctor Parking Area and return. Birds were scarce as I photographed only a Hermit Thrush, but a a couple of wildflowers “posed” for photographs.

Hermit Thrush

Our next stop was at Patagonia Lake State Park where we had a late picnic lunch. Patagonia Lake is a man-made reservoir in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, United States, located southwest of the town of Patagonia, Arizona, and northeast of Nogales on the Mexico border. The small lake, at only 240 acres, was created by damming Sonoita Creek, and is a popular area for boating and sport fishing. The state park as packed!

The final stop of the day was at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Some 14 to 15 species of hummingbirds visit annually. However, due to COVID 19 and the lack of sufficient medical facilities in the area, the Center was closed. They do maintain a couple of hummingbird feeders near the parking area, and we were able to enjoy a couple of hummingbirds flitting back and forth, including this relatively rare Violet-crowned Hummingbird.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Thursday afternoon late, Helen and Don Baggett hosted a going away happy hour for us at their place in Palm Creek. It was lovely, and we decided to continue our weekly happy hours back in the Village when everyone returns from winter.

On Saturday morning, Kay and I received the 2nd Moderna injection. In two weeks we should be able to return to some semblance of normality, including hugging friends and family who have also been vaccinated. This marked the last obligation for us for our winter at Palm Creek in Casa Grande, Arizona. Consequently, we decided to leave a day early. Tomorrow, we begin our journey home.

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